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Products > Hippeastrum x johnsonii
Hippeastrum x johnsonii - St. Joseph's Lily

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Bulb/Tuber/Rhizome etc.
Family: Amaryllidaceae (Onions)
Origin: Garden Origin
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Spring
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Amaryllis johnsonii, A. brasiliensis]
Parentage: (H. reginae x H.vittata)
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10 F
Hippeastrum x johnsonii (St. Joseph's Lily) - This semi-evergreen bulb multiplies rapidly to form masses of broad green strap-shaped leaves to 30 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide that can take on coppery tones when grown in full sun. In early April and May bulbs produce up to 4 stems that bear 4 to 6 flowers apiece. These flowers, with a spicy fragrance, have 6 gracefully recurved scarlet-red tepals, each with a central white stripe, producing a star like pattern in the center of the flower. Plant this bulb in full to part sun and irrigate during dry summer months to maintain foliage or allow it to go dormant. This plant can thrive in heavy clays soils but it does best in colder climates if the soil drains well. This is the hardiest of the Amaryllis and can be grown in USDA Zone 7, which can experience winter temperatures to 0F. In these climates this bulb is winter deciduous but in warmer locations it is nearly evergreen. Hippeastrum x johnsonii grows well in containers but is shy to flower unless planted in the ground. It is noted by some as resistant to deer browsing. Hippeastrum x johnsonii (formerly Amaryllis johnsonii) is commonly referred to as Hardy Amaryllis, Johnson's Amaryllis or the St. Joseph's Lily. The name St. Joseph's Lily seems the most popular name although St. Joseph's day is March 19th, nearly 1 month before this plant blooms for us. Thought to be the first hybrid amaryllis ever produced, it was the result of a cross, perhaps unintentional between Hippeastrum reginae and Hippeastrum vittata performed between 1799 and 1810 by Arthur Johnson, a watch maker from Prescot in Lancashire County, England. Mr. Arthur fortunately shared his plants with the Liverpool Botanic Garden prior to his greenhouse, and its contents, being accidentally destroyed. Hippeastrum x johnsonii made its way into cultivation in the United States by the mid 1800s and was in Santa Barbara when Dr. Francesco Franceschi performed his 1895 survey of plants being grown in Santa Barbara. While this plant is rarely offered in nurseries it can be found in older gardens and cemeteries, particularly in southern California, the southeast and in Texas. Our thanks go to Tony Avent for putting this wonderful bulb into tissue culture production and sharing it with us.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We have also incorporated comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Hippeastrum x johnsonii.